A simple and quick salad to have up your repertoire of side dishes. We served this alongside Tarator Ocean Trout but it would go well with any grilled meats, fish or amongst a middle eastern banquet. An edited version of one of my favourite chefs recipes, Yotam Ottolenghi. Not the prettiest of photographs but I took a quick snap and our friends enjoyed it so much they asked for the recipe so I thought I would share with you all. I may get around to photographing it properly one day if I’m not too busy cooking and eating all the food!! The dressing recipe is just a guideline as usual and I always recommend tasting and adjusting as you see fit. Really try and taste it: is it too sweet, too salty, too acid? And then add a little more of the appropriate ingredient to correct this. However remember that the dates are very sweet so this dressing deliberately has no honey or sugar element to compensate for this.

Baby Spinach, Date & Almond Salad

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sumac
pinch of salt

1/2 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin strips

1/2 cup roasted almond, roughly chopped
2 pita bread, torn into pieces
2 handfuls of green beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large bag of baby spinach

Make your dressing first by mixing all ingredients together or shaking in a jar. Add the dates and onion to the dressing and leave to infuse for about half an hour while you get the rest of your meal ready.

In a medium hot pan, add a tbsp or two of oil and the pita bread and toast slowly until crunchy and brown. Set aside to cool. If you have raw almonds rather than roasted, you can also toast them in the pan at this stage. Blanch the green beans in hot water for a couple of minutes and then drain and run under cold water immediately to cool down and stop them cooking.

Assemble the salad by placing the spinach and green beans in a large flat bowl, sprinkling the almonds and pita over the top and then finishing with the dressing, dates and onion. Eat immediately to stop the pita and leaves from going soggy.

Serves 4.


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